TB 'doesn't care whether you come from a royal family or not' - King Goodwill's son

TB medicines, courtesy of Medecins Sans Frontieres.
TB medicines, courtesy of Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Durban - Tuberculosis ambassador and survivor Prince Nhlanganiso Zulu has warned people about the dangers of the disease.

He was speaking at a World TB Day commemoration event in Durban on Thursday.

Zulu, who has lost one lung to TB, encouraged people to screen for the disease before it was too late.

"Seven years ago, I was diagnosed with TB. As a survivor, I took a decision to become an ambassador to teach people about the dangers of TB," he said.

Zulu, the son of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, said the disease didn't care which family one came from.

"It doesn't care whether you come from a royal family or not. Families have lost breadwinners through TB," he warned.

He had spent three full months at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban, he said.

"There was a period where I weighed only 27kg. My father couldn't even perform his duties as a king because of my status at the time," he said.

Zulu said it took him nine months to complete the TB treatment, which usually takes six months, because "one of my lungs had collapsed".

He said families of TB sufferers should encourage and help them take their medication for the full six months.

Read: Get circumcised to protect women from STDs, Zulu prince tells men

Earlier in the day, during a meeting between traditional leaders and government officials, King Goodwill said "drunkards" were some of the people who were at high risk of dying from TB.

He accused them of "dumping" treatment before they completed their six-month treatment.

"People must take care of themselves. They must reduce their alcohol intake," he said.

He also asked religious leaders, who claimed they could heal TB sufferers through prayer, to stop encouraging people to stop taking treatment.

"We're not against religious leaders. They should assist us in the fight against TB. But some should stop telling people to stop taking treatment because they've prayed for them," he said.

Coughing for more than two weeks, night sweating, loss of appetite and coughing blood are some of the symptoms of TB.

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